28. January 2009 12:15
So this morning I had a dentist appointment and I had to walk across the loop. It had snowed and was still snowy, so there was various snow removal going on. I walked by the Daley Center and they were clearing snow from what is admittedly a bit more sidewalk/terrace than some buildings. They were clearing it with what looked like an almost brand-new John Deere small utility tractor with a cab, blade, etc. Conservative estimate on a price for one of those is $15-20K range. I actually know because I've researched them a bit and then I doublechecked my guess online.
What the crap do they need something like that for just to clear snow? Then when walking back I noticed they actually have TWO of them. Now maybe they were donated and maybe they are leasing them, but at any rate, this is what my taxes go to? Can't they use a snow blower like everyone else? Meanwhile, we can barely get streets plowed in our neighborhood and the streets and sanitation department never enforces the sidewalk shoveling ordinance, so you are always walking/driving around at your own risk.
2. January 2009 17:29
So by about the Saturday after Christmas, we were getting a bit stir crazy at my wife's parents and decided to mosey over to Harrisburg to check out a couple of local craft breweries. We usually go over to Yuengling for their tour, but we've been there the last couple years and wanted to check some new stuff out.
Fighting through some bad fog and traffic on what should have been only about an hour drive, we (Kristin, Kristin's sister Becky and I) finally got to the Troegs after missing the turn the first time and seeing more of scenic downtown Harrisburg than we wanted to. Harrisburg is not a pretty town by any means. Maybe even a little scary. But they are making some good brew there.
So yes, the first stop was Troegs, a relative young brewery started by two brothers Chris and John in 1996. They don't have a brew pub or restaurant, but they have a very nice tasting room. We wanted to go on the tour, but it was already full and probably would've have seen anything much different than we've seen before. The place was absolutely packed, which was nice to see. They had about 20 tables and they were all full. We got a sampler of 7 of their beers and asked to share the corner of a table with some other folks. Being beer lovers and therefore cool, they had no problem with that. I was very impressed with pretty much everything they were making, it was all really good. Much better than I was hoping. I think the favorite for all of us was their Mad Elf, which was a very drinkable 11% stunner. Seemed to be most similar to a Barley Wine, but quite distinctive with some cherries, honey and chocolate malt adding up to a very cohesive, yet layered palette of flavors. We ended up buying a growler of it to bring back and shared it with friends for New Year's Eve.
We then headed over to Appalachian Brewing Company for some food and more beer. They had some really good beers as well, but not as consistently good across the board as Troegs. Still, some very nice darker beers including a very good porter, a Weizenbock style which I haven't seen many people do and Pennsylvania's first certified organic beer, a brown ale. Their homemade pretzels were excellent as well and they also made a really delicious root beer with honey.
So in spite of PA's crazy beer and liquor laws, you can find some good beer there for sure. We're hoping to keep visiting some other craft brewers on other trips, there are a few over near State College we have our eye on as well.